First Review: Star Stories

“Stay away from Madonna,” warns Warren Beatty to Guy Ritchie. “She’ll drag you down like she did to Sean Penn.”

So runs the loose narrative of the irreverent Star Stories, Britain’s newest jab at celebrity life. Taking no prisoners, each 30 minute episode abandons all decorum as a host of comic actors impersonate the lives of the rich and famous. Think Fast Forward, Spitting Image and a dash of Jennifer Saunders. The current series, which has already attacked David and Victoria Beckham, takes aim at Catherine Zeta Jones, George Michael and a Jennifer Aniston lampoon titled “The One Where Jen’s Husband Dumps Her For A Total Bitch.’

Next series Take That appear in “Why Our Success Had Nothing to do with Robert Williams.” And I can’t wait to see how they take down Britney Spears, Simon Cowell and Tom Cruise.

The Madonna episode is framed as ‘The Wife’s Life. A Guy Ritchie Film.’ It kicks off as a trademark heist film, reminiscent of Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Ritchie narrates the moment he met Madonna, at a dinner party with Sting, Stella “I’d still be a famous designer even if me dad wasn’t famous” McCartney, and sooky la la Gwynneth Paltrow. Madge arrives late having, “put my hip out doing yoga” and Ritchie, having no idea who she is, connects instantly with her.

Flashback to Sean Penn, dressed straight out of James Dean’s Rebel Without a Cause wardrobe, on the set of Material Girl. He is, at the time, recognised as “one of the foremost actors of his generation…either that or Patrick Swayze.” He and Madonna argue heatedly until the passion overflows into her insisting he, “f**k me you f***ing A-Hole and leave those dirty boots on.”

So Madge dumps Prince (he’s too short), talks Penn into shooting Shanghai Surprise, puts up with his paparazzi tirades and in turn dumps him for Sandra Bernhard. “We’re lipstick lesbians for publicity!”

Deprived of Ab Fabs and Little Britains, Star Stories is a worthy substitute. Despite any Kaballah gags, the best moment is reserved for Lourdes, whose Omen-like appearances are punctuated with a ghostly choir and all the gormless wit of Wednesday Adams. As she hands Ritchie his script of Swept Away, she eyeballs him with, “I read your script. I believe your narrative is flawed.”

Got it in one, kiddo.

Star Stories: ‘Guy and Madonna’ airs 9:30pm Wednesday Aug 22 on ABC.

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